There is no avoiding it – we really have to spend. We live in a consumerist society wherein we exchange money for the things that we need to survive. This includes food, water, shelter, clothing, and even entertainment expenses. Bottom line is, the more money you have, the more you can spend to make your existence comfortable and worthwhile.
So if you think that you do not need a spending plan, you are mistaken. If we cannot avoid spending, we can, at least, make sure that we are doing it correctly. It is not enough that we ensure that our basic needs are met. You have to be wise about how you can pay for these needs. Part of being wise means finding ways to save while spending.
Americans are notorious for their spending behavior. It is the perception of other countries that we are a nation of spenders. As long as we have the money to spare, we will spend our money. While we all deserve to spend our money as we wish, we need to hold back and make sure that we are saving too. The Great Recession taught us that our jobs can end when we least expect it. How can you survive if your main source of funds is suddenly gone? If you learned how to save, the cash you stashed could help you during trying times.
According to an article published on USNews.com, Americans are showing signs that they are saving more towards the end of 2015. The article discussed the study done by the Bureau of Economic Analysis that revealed how the average worker enjoyed a 0.3% increase in income last December. For the whole year, the increase totals 4.5%. The gains that workers got last year in their income did not necessarily go straight to spending. There was only a 3.1% increase when it came to the average consumption. This shows that people have started saving a portion of their income rather than spending them all. It may be proof that the average consumer has developed smarter spending habits after the latest recession.
10 tips that will help you save money as you buy
If you combine the ideas that we cannot avoid spending and yet we need to save more, it becomes apparent that we need to learn to save while spending.
Fortunately, there are various ways that we can do this.
- Buy in bulk if you can. We all know that the more you buy, the less you have to spend per piece. That means buying the cost per piece would be smaller if you buy 10 pieces of a product as opposed to purchasing just one. However, you need to make sure that you are only buying items that you can consumer before they expire. Ideally, you want to use this technique on products that will not expire – e.g. toilet paper, etc. If it is a perishable item, make sure that you can consume everything before they go bad. If they expire, you are not really saving anything.
- Know what you can buy used. Another way that you can save while spending is to buy thing used. There are items that are best bought used. For instance, buying a used car is not a bad idea especially if it can keep you from a car loan. Just make sure you bring along a trusted mechanic to see if the car is in good condition. A car may look good on the outside but the inside might cost you a lot in terms of repairs. Furniture is also something that you should buy used (e.g. couch, bed frames, tables, and chairs, etc.)
- Always buy with a list. One good rule to follow when you go out shopping is to buy with a list. This does not necessarily help you save while spending but it will keep you from overspending – which is also a good thing. This list will keep you from buying something that you do not need. You can stick to the plan so you can stay within your budget.
- Avoid branded products if it is not necessary. There are products that you do not necessarily have to buy branded. For instance, you should buy generic medicines instead of branded ones so you can save on the purchase. Of course, you need to know what you require so you can choose based on the content of the product you will buy. According to Phys.org, better-informed consumers are usually the ones who are confident of buying store brands instead of the name brands. So know what you need so you can let go of the notion that you need name branded products just to get the best value for your money.
- Compare products – always. This is the best way that you can save while spending. It is not just about buying the cheapest product. You can buy cheap but if it is easily destroyed, you might end up paying more than what is necessary. Compare the qualities of each product and determine which one has the highest value.
- Share purchases if you can. Just like there are items that you should buy used, there are also items that you can share. This usually works for a community. For instance, the neighborhood community can probably buy certain tools for the house that they can share. This could be a tool that you can use to make minor repairs at home.
- Consider using a coupon. Another thing that you can do to save while spending is to use a coupon to pay less on the regular price of the item that you can to buy. According to a press released published on PRNewsWire.com, people still opt for print-based coupons to help them save on their usual expenses. This may be something that you can also look into.
- Negotiate when you can. Some people may feel like negotiating is beneath them and will make them look cheap. This is not true. It actually shows that you know what you are buying and you are being smart about it.
- See if you can learn to DIY. This is something that you can really benefit from regardless of how your life ends out. If you learn how to bake so you do not have to buy bread – that can help you even as you grow old. The same is true for gardening skills and even learning how to fix your car. Think about the skills that you think you will need in your life and learn them.
- Use rewards credit cards. Finally, you should use rewards credit cards to help you save while spending. You can literally get something for free just by buying the things that you commonly consume. As long as you pay off your debt in full, it will not result in credit card debt.
How a spending plan can help you save better than a budget
There are some people who think that you can survive with a budget plan as long as you have a spending plan. It may be an unusual saving tip but a spending plan could help you reach your goals to save more. There are three reasons why this is true.
It is more specific.
This depends on the budget that you are using of course. But there are budget plans that are too generic that it will only mention the total amount that you can spend on each category. A spending plan will give you a more detailed list and the amount that you can spend on it.
It defines what is important to you.
Since a spending plan is specific, you get to identify what is important to you. If you have a limited budget, you will be forced to choose only what you will spend on. This restriction will help you look deeper into what is really important because you will prioritize spending on them.
It is easier to make it realistic.
Finally, a spending plan will allow you to make things realistic. The details will help you define where your money is going exactly. That will allow you to make plans so you can practice smart spending whenever you go shopping.
Of course, saving is easier said than done. Whatever you save on your spending efforts should be literally placed in your savings account. Otherwise, you might end up spending it on something else. Fortunately, there are tips that you can use to help you make your saving more successful.
Here is a video that will explain why you need to save the money off the top of your salary. She simply explained why it is better for you to put away your target savings amount as soon as you get your paycheck. Most people would wait until the end of the month to put aside their savings. This usually ends up failing or with a lower amount than intended. Watch the video to learn more about this saving technique.